Tag Archives: ARM architecture

Designing an industrial control panel with Atmel’s SAMA5D3

An industrial control panel or terminal provides a visual interface for operators to monitor and control equipment, typically in a factory setting.

Clearly, industrial control panels must support high-end graphics without negatively impacting system communication. And in today’s connected world, the panels must also be capable of linking and seamlessly interfacing with a wide variety of external peripherals as well as accessories.

Atmel’s SAMA5D3 (ARM) Cortex-A5 eMPU, paired with a maXTouch-powered display, is an industrial control panel platform that is more than capable of fulfilling the above-mentioned requirements.

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“Atmel’s platform offers high processing power and bandwidth for optimized graphics performance with the ARM Cortex-A5 based SAMA5D3 – which boasts a fully integrated MMU and a floating point unit to accelerate graphics processing. Meanwhile, our 32-bit DDR-2 memory interface provides high bandwidth to support high resolution screen displays and render complex animation,” an Atmel engineer told us.

“We also offer three high-speed USB Ports with integrated PHY, providing simultaneous support for three USB clients – which removes the need for an external hub. Plus, there are multiple interfaces available, including Gigabit EMAC with full IEEE 1588 support.”

In terms of graphics, the SAMA5D3 offers integrated resistive touch screen support, along with a direct interface to an external (maXTouch) capacitive touch screen module. On the software side, support for Linux 3.6.6 includes sources, pre-built demos with installation scripts, build instructions, along with various tips and tricks.

Atmel’s extensive development system also includes in-house and third-party modules, kits, OS/RTOS/Middleware and UI options, with the SAMA5D3-EK Evaluation Kit enabling rapid code development.

Additional information about the SAMA5D3 can be found here.

The ARM-Atmel Churchill Club connection

Early this morning, journalists, analysts and industry watchers gathered at the Churchill Club in San Francisco to discuss cross-industry collaboration between ARM and its extensive network of partners.

Collaboration is often easier to talk about than achieve in Silicon Valley, yet ARM has been incredibly successful with its licensing model, generating an ecosystem that spans multiple industries and spaces – including the incredibly lucrative mobile market.

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“ARM is in a fantastic state of health. Of course there are lots of challenges ahead, but we are confident our open partnership model is the way forward,” said incoming CEO Simon Segars.

“We have always thrived on a culture of collaboration from the very beginning, an attitude which has only increased with the rise of the Internet and social networking.”

Segars also noted that ARM had begun as a small start-up in a converted farmhouse with a limited budget.

“From the start, we knew we couldn’t do everything ourselves, and needed partners to make it work,” he said. “So we have always worked very closely with people from various industries.”

Clearly, ARM’s strategy has paid off over the years, as the Cambridge-based company has built up an impressive portfolio of collaborative IP projects with a number of industry heavyweights.

One example of close collaboration with ARM is the use of the company’s architecture in a number of Atmel microcontrollers, including the recently launched SAM4E and SAMA5D3.

As previously discussed on Bits and Pieces, the SAM4E is based on ARM’s high-performance 32-bit Cortex-M4 RISC processor with a floating point unit (FPU). It runs at a maximum speed of 120MHz and features up to 1024KB of Flash, 2KB of cache memory and up to 128KB of SRAM. Meanwhile, the SAMA5D3 is built around ARM’s Cortex-A5 processor, operating at up to 536MHz (850DMIPS) at under 200mW.

There are obviously many more examples of collaboration between Atmel and ARM which can be found here.